Action News Jax Investigates: Why the 'Central Park of Jacksonville' can't stay in business

Unity Plaza out of business

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax Investigates why what was billed as the "Central Park of Jacksonville" can’t stay afloat.

Right now, the retail space at Unity Plaza is for sale.

Over the years, several businesses have come and gone with little success.

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Rachel Azumbrado moved to 220 Riverside in June, and had high hopes.

“I thought that maybe those were just empty temporarily and that maybe they would fill up, but there’s never been any restaurants,” Azumbrado said.


Instead, slowly but surely, every establishment on the sign out front of Unity Plaza: Hobnob, Brixx, Unity Beer Garden and more have all failed.

Now, a south Florida company is working to sell this 1,700 square feet of retail space for $3.5 million.
Friday, Action News Jax got Avison Young on the phone.

“It doesn’t seem like anything can really last there,” Action News Jax Reporter Russell Colburn said. “Any idea why and what’s being done?”

“It’s difficult to stay in business when your customers, when your shoppers, if it’s retail use, can’t get to you because of the parking, and also if you’re paying so much in rent,” Senior Associate Joshua Ladle said.

The city said Unity Plaza has earned nearly $1 million in incentives, and could earn nearly $5 million over 20 years.


Friday, the mayor’s office told Action News Jax, “No one is available for an interview.”

But over the phone, we were told, “We hope that any future owners will find a way to make that space work,” saying the city is helping with parking options.

But Azumbrado has already seen enough.

“We’re probably not going to stay,” she said.

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